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The effect of perceived threat on online service reviews

Jong Min Kim (Department of Business and Public Management, Wenzhou-Kean University, Wenzhou, China)
Eunkyung Lee (International Business School Suzhou, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 9 June 2022

Issue publication date: 28 February 2023




The ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent perception of threat have shifted consumer perceptions and evaluations of service experiences. This paper aims to investigate how customers’ service evaluation is shared as customer reviews following the pandemic and the heightened perception of threat. In doing so, this research particularly investigates the shifts in the textual contents of online reviews.


This study used the textual contents in the online reviews posted on for 1,497 hotels in New York City for empirical analysis. In total, 109,190 observations were used for the analysis.


By analyzing actual online review data from an online review platform for hotel services, this study finds that the text reviews generated after the pandemic outbreak tend to contain words with stronger negative emotions. In terms of the pronoun choice, this study further finds that the use of “I” increases while the use of “we” decreases.


This research adds to the existing literature on service evaluation and online customer reviews by showing that there are shifts in the expressions used to communicate service evaluation through online text reviews, including the degree of emotionality and pronoun usage. Because potential customers are likely to rely on online reviews for their own decisions, the findings suggest that it is important for practitioners to be aware of such shifts and respond accordingly.



Kim, J.M. and Lee, E. (2023), "The effect of perceived threat on online service reviews", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 300-312.



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